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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sec. Alfonso Cusi's Speech at PhilRECA Annual General Membership Meeting

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Delivered by Sec. Alfonso G. Cusi
37th PHILRECA Annual General Membership Meeting
Wednesday, 03 August 2016, 10:00 a.m.
SMX Davao Convention Center, Davao City

"Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Philreca Board Members headed by Mr. Jose Raul A. Saniel, all the electric cooperative Board Directors, General Managers, Department Heads, and guests, good morning.

Allow me first to thank all of you for the very warm welcome to the industry. This is my first speaking engagement as Energy Secretary, and already we are seeing the vast potential of electrification in making a difference in the lives of our countrymen. Power has always been one of the top priorities of the government, not only for industrialization, but also as a way of embracing Filipinos through our shared goal of powering every home in the country.

The theme for PHILRECA’s assembly is “Lighting Homes, Improving Lives and Enhancing Inclusive Growth and Progress” which is very much in sync with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte of adjusting to the needs of the people, especially those in the marginalized sector. Pursuant to that mandate, we were able to help 2,082 households in the Meralco franchise area, barely a month in office, manifesting that with willingness to show genuine compassion for our kababayans, things can be done. Imagine the possibilities for the coming months and years ahead if we all work together.

According to the DOE transition report, the National Electrification Administration already reached its 100% Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) target (with a total of 103,000 sitios electrified) in March 2016. Our work, however, should not stop there as there are still those who have yet to see and enjoy light. It is therefore important that we reach out to you in efforts to forge a strong partnership for rural electrification since it is our duty in the government to support your endeavors that aim to uplift the lives of our countrymen.

Early this month, I met with some of the PHILRECA members to discuss the issues and concerns of the electric cooperatives. From that meeting, I learned about your issues on right-of-way, tax reforms and the non-privatization of major government power assets, among others. Given that President Duterte has declared power development as a critical driver of our growth, we, in the Energy Family, will see to it that your concerns are immediately responded to, to allow you to fast track rural electrification.

We will streamline policies and processes to encourage competitiveness, promoting ease in doing business for the industry especially here in Mindanao and in the far-flung areas. As we strive to improve public service, we urge electric cooperatives to be compliant in their Distribution Development Plan for the continuous improvement of your operations. DDP is a very critical tool in pushing forward our advocacies for empowering people, as this will open up opportunities in your areas, such as the establishment of small businesses through power development.

Alongside a good distribution plan, we also hope that ECs will strive for excellence by constantly improving your facilities and observing the procedures of the Competitive Selection Process before entering into power service agreements.

And most importantly, we need to comply with the provision of the law that mandates us to ensure the reliable, quality, secured, & affordable supply of electricity. Let us assure the communities we serve supply of electricity 24/7. And let us strive, work hard in finding ways to bring down our cost of power.

Let us learn from the challenges we had, aim to improve and give the best service to the people. Another key element is preparedness in dealing with disasters. Given that it is typhoon season once again, I encourage you to assess your cooperatives and come up with a disaster preparedness plan, so that we will be able to address the gaps and return to normalcy immediately after the occurrence of any natural calamity.

Along this line, NEA has come up with a Policy on Electric Cooperatives’ Resiliency Program which seeks to enhance design and construction standards of ECs’ distribution assets in anticipation of the increasing intensity of typhoons. The Policy directs electric cooperatives to establish buffer stocks of materials, build a regional pool of line men and electricians who will undertake power restoration works, so that no utility is caught flatfooted in emergency situations in order to mitigate difficulties of the consumers during power rehabilitation activities.

As I advocate a participative and consultative leadership process I therefore encourage all of you to assess the needs of your localities and look into the possibilities of how our programs such as the National Intensification Household Electrification Program, Sitio Electrification Program and the Barangay Line Enhancement Program can be maximized to help your member-consumers.

We have to exert more effort to reduce systems loss in order to lessen the cost of delivery of power to electricity consumers. On our part, we are looking at Malampaya fund to compensate the stranded cost and stranded debts, which are being passed on to consumers. We have to prioritize the welfare of our consumers.

We also enjoin you to link up with various institutions and organizations, local government units, non-government organizations and socio-civic groups to be able to assure that the needs of everyone are met. Let me repeat that the direction of the Department of Energy under President Rodrigo Duterte’s term will be geared toward the protection of Filipino consumers. We will therefore exhaust all efforts to ensure access to adequate, affordable, and reliable electricity as a recognition of the primary importance of power in enhancing the quality of life of all Filipinos, especially those living in the far-flung areas of the country. We can certainly accomplish our goals if we all work together to create the change we aspire to have.

Again, congratulations for 37 years of championing the goals of rural electrification and for being at the forefront of consumer advocacy. I wish to thank you for supporting DOE, and I hope that this assembly will bind us stronger in our shared goal of providing electricity to all Filipino households.

Thank you very much and good day.

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